[Originally published in the January 2022 issue of Ski-Boat magazine]
By Erwin Bursik
INNOVATION, practical experience and a dedication to perfection are clearly evident in the 2022 model of the Seacat 800 produced by Ryan Hansen and Grantley Read.
In line with the motor industry’s thinking of periodically modifying and improving popular models of motor vehicles, this concept is now finding its way into the realm of boat manufacture. Hence the updated version of the Seacat 800.I really enjoyed the ride, looks and performance of the original Seacat 800, Basjan, which I reviewed for the September/October 2020 issue of SKI-BOAT. As a result, when Ryan informed me that a number of modifications were being contemplated for the Seacat 800 going forward, I queried his and Grantley’s thinking and even voiced my opinion with regard to changing the actual hull design that I had found so efficient and comfortable at sea.
My thinking soon changed. When I first saw the new and virtually completed Seacat in Ryan’s workshop I was impressed with the increased cabin size and configuration which was all I saw.
My next sighting was when the new and finally completed rig belonging to the brothers of Harding Boerdery in Hoedspruit arrived at Durban Watersports Club for final inspection and photographs. I was blown away just looking at this Seacat 800 nestling on the beach following her sea trials.
It was then that I asked Ryan to itemise not only the modifications they had made but also, apart from the aesthetic enhancements, the practical onboard and at-sea advantages of their innovative improvements.
To keep it all clear, I’m going to itemise these in point form accompanied by a photograph of each upgrade as well as Ryan’s reasoning behind the changes.
1. The most obvious of these can be seen in the main photograph of the Seacat 800 looking stunning with its extended and modified cabin. It was generally felt that additional protection needed to be provided and an additional 800mm was added to the existing model. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes a huge difference to the aesthetics and provides shade and weather protection to those on board.
The additional forward-facing air vents and large sliding side windows guarantee a far greater airflow within the main saloon.
2. Some things within this helm station have been redesigned both in size and with extra padding to make it more comfortable for the skipper during those long hours behind the wheel.
Behind each “bum seat” there’s a crew seat facing aft that is larger than normal and has a gunnel side padded panel that allows the skipper and crew additional comfort when lounging. They’re small additions, but from experience I know that sitting on an aft bum seat adds a lot to one’s comfort while out on the boat.
3. This aft-facing seating now houses the fuel compartments — six cans in each and all interconnected with changeover valves.
4. There have been significant changes in the transom area in that a large luna tube has been sited in each corner and plumbed to one of the two aft clear water hatches that also includes the centrally located livebait hatch.
5. The carpeted aft deck is open and totally uncluttered. I really liked that. However, a large coffin hatch is available and provided, and it can be loaded or left behind depending on the style of fishing one intends doing on a particular day. This hatch is large and, sited midships on the deck it will house much of one’s tackle, cool box etc. If I was going billfishing I would leave this in the locker and would instead have the aft-mounted fighting chair in the position provided. The deck would then be open and clear when fighting big fish.
6. Back to the two large deck-flush “water hatches” — one in each corner adjacent to the false transom. They will hold approximately 200 litres and are fed by a faucet in the hatch opening to the sea.
In addition to providing clean, bubble-free water to the luna tubes, it is believed that the combined additional weight of about 200kg of water virtually on the transom, will cause the wake pattern of the craft to change. Depending on the wake pattern required when pulling konas or bait, the skipper can, by closing the inlet valve, then pump out water to adjust the craft’s transom weight and thereby ostensibly changing the wake pattern.
In conclusion I can categorically state that not only is this Seacat 800 a lot more striking in appearance but has, due to the many changes, become much more efficient in use as well as finished to the highest of standards required in today’s market place.